(Originally posted 11-6-19)
Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. Charles Spurgeon
A couple of months ago while finishing up some other blogs, I got a stirring in my heart to write a series with a singular purpose in mind: to speak to those who are hurting. Hurt can take many different forms, therefore it seemed unlikely that just one week would cover an array of issues I felt led to address. It’s important for you to know that I take prayer requests every Monday morning on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/derekcharlesjohnson1/. From those weekly requests, I’ve felt burdened to carve out some blogs which can specifically encourage some who are struggling.
What hurts are we dealing with? Everything we address over the next few weeks are not surprises but for the one caught up in the pain of the moment or season, the issue can seem never ending. Some are dealing with depression. Some are dealing with hopelessness. Some are just tired and need a break. Others have come to a point in which they are questioning whether or not all this “Jesus stuff” is even true. In short, the hurting and broken I see are in a place where they just need to be reminded once again Who Christ is and that they are loved.
There is no particular order to the next few weeks. One blog may speak to you and another may not. But either way, it might be worth passing on, sharing, and forwarding to someone in your life. As public as we are on our social media feeds, there is a lot of private grieving and sadness that many deal with. Let’s make it a point to speak into the void many are facing.
Today I want to simply address those who are worn and weary. Life has tired you out. Maybe it’s just normal 9-5 stuff that has you beat. Maybe a relationship is emotionally draining. Maybe some diagnosis has you worried and you can’t sleep. Whatever it is, I hope the next few lines and paragraphs offer a salve to your tired soul. This introduction has served to set up the series. There are a lot of hurts but let’s face it, being tired and exhausted by life is in itself a hurt that needs remedying. Let’s go sit at the Savior’s feet for awhile.
1. Examine priorities
But few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42
When Mary and Martha are described in the Gospels, we often categorize ourselves as either one or the other. Mary was the one willing to be still and remain in Jesus’ presence. Martha was the doer: she had tasks to get done and wanted others to help. Naturally I think we can fall into one camp or the other, but I think the heart of Mary is a necessary trait we must develop. Some of us are better at it than others. It does not mean that a Martha personality is wrong. But it does give us a reason to ask “What are our priorities and what can we cut out of our day?”
Sitting at the feet of Jesus is always a priority we must have. It might different from person to person. It might be a devotional you read, a quiet time you have with the Lord on your commute, or some other way your carve out time each day with God. The main thing is that it regularly built in and you plan on it and safeguard it. Believe me, other demands will always try to rob your time with God. But make a point to determine what is necessary and what can wait (or even be eliminated).
If you are looking for some help with this, I’d encourage you to sign up for my As Bold As Lions weekly blogs and devotionals: http://derekcharlesjohnson.com/as-bold-as-lions
2. Elevate your mind
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Through these next few weeks, I believe much of the battle for those who are hurting will be fought and won or lost within the mind. We fail to give enough credit to just how powerful our thought life is. We come into seasons of burnout and weariness and find that we are filled with a whole spectrum of emotions: sad, angry, confused. These emotions and these patterns of thought are not places we are called to stay as Christians. We may go through sorrowful or difficult seasons of the soul. But even in those times, we are called to find the joy of the Lord as our strength. (See blog Defined By Joy).
Paul points us upward in Philippians 4. We have to be willing to carve out our time with Jesus each day and we must take account for our thought life in the process. Sometimes the weariness we feel comes from the day in and day out darkness of the soul which has not surrendered itself to Christ. When we take thoughts captive, we allow the Spirit to replace the weariness with His peace which surpasses all understanding. This rest leads right into our last, but critical point.
3. Expect rest and renewal
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I love these words from Jesus in Matthew 11. Even just reading them brings a sense of calm and rest. Jesus beckons us in the middle of our busyness to just stop and come to Him. What He gives us does not add to the burden. In fact, it is very opposite. He takes our burden and gives us rest. He allows us to learn from Him. He reminds us that He is gentle and humble in heart. Where else can we find someone who cares this much? Nowhere on Earth.
Here’s the thing about Matthew 11:28-30: you can take it or leave it. He says “Come to me…and I will give you rest.” But He doesn’t demand it. He offers it freely and what is freely given must be freely received. Sure we can choose to walk away. I do. We all do. I have a habit of trying to figure out life on my own, too often neglecting prayer and Bible study. From there, I wonder why my life gets so hectic and chaotic. All the while Jesus is saying, “Come to me.” I have to develop patterns of rest. I have to pull away, recharge, and recenter. This process must be on a continual basis. This life demands it.
If you are still finding more questions at the end of this blog (or any that follow), I would love to talk further. We are never meant to walk this journey alone and these Letters To The Hurting blogs are about walking step-by-step, hand-in-hand. You might be in a position in which I can help and someday, I might be in a position where you can help me. This side of eternity, we are building the Kingdom one soul at a time and we refuse to leave anyone behind.
I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation next week. We are going to address insecurity and as such, we are going back to where our identify comes from. I’d love to have you join me again and invite others along for these messages. God bless, I love you.
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17
Other blogs for further reading: